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Women of Achievement: Julia Ann Cooper

Julia Ann Cooper is a life-long resident of McKeesport, and a woman who is dedicated to the spirit of volunteerism in her community.

Her volunteer days began when she was a student at McKeesport Area High School, where she graduated in 1969. She participated in many high school organizations, the Speech Club, and McKeesport Little Theater productions. Julia found the experience of volunteering rewarding and continued to volunteer while she attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During her senior year, she notes a highlight of serving as chairman of the Judge Selection Committee for the Miss Indiana University of Pennsylvania Pageant, a preliminary to Miss America. Julia went on to graduate from IUP with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and continued her graduate studies at IUP and Pennsylvania State University. 

Throughout the years, Julia’s community involvement has grown. She served on the McKeesport YWCA Board of Directors and with the McKeesport Hospital Junior Committee, volunteering in the Snack and Gift Shop from 1975 – 1988. Julia is a past President of the McKeesport College Club, and also served as Vice President and Corresponding Secretary, Chairman of various committees, as well as taking on numerous volunteer capacities with the organization. Each year she assists with the College Club and Altrusa International of McKeesport’s entries in McKeesport’s Festival of Trees. She also volunteers at Village for Kids and collects and distributes supplies and food items for various community organizations. 

Julia is an active member of St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in White Oak, where she is a Children’s Liturgy volunteer and serves on the Funeral Bereavement Team.

Julia is a former elementary school teacher in the McKeesport Area School District and says her time spent with children and parents was most rewarding. During her 38 years of teaching, she served on many professional and PTA committees. She was honored to be named a Life Member of the Pennsylvania State PTA. She remains interested in education and her former students’ activities and successes and regularly attends McKeesport School Board meetings. She is an avid supporter of the high school football and basketball teams and volunteers on the ticket sales committee for the high school musicals.

“I have always found joy in volunteering. This joy comes from both those we are helping and those with whom we volunteer. I would like to thank all of my friends and family who accompanied me on this journey. You were all so willing to offer your assistance and help in any way possible. I truly appreciate your efforts and ideas. Together we made a difference for our community," Julia says.

Julia thanks her husband, Ronald, and daughter, Theresa, for supporting and encouraging her volunteerism in the community.


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